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The Missing Number.
From :
Mon, 17 May 1999 11:49:06 0800 (MYT)

By Raymond Chu

A young sales manager, whose yearly earnings are in excess of $35,000, wrote:
"I have a feeling: the type of feeling one would have if he were standing in front of a safe which held all the wealth, happiness, and
success in the world, and he had all the numbers to the combination - "except one. Just one number! If he had it, he could open the door."

Often the difference between poverty and wealth lies in the employment of all principles in a formula but one. Just that one missing number makes the difference! This can be illustrated in the experience of another man who had been successful in selling cosmetics for a manufacturer before he went into business for himself.

In his own business Leonard Lavin, like any man who starts from the bottom, was faced with problems. As you will see later, that was good. It was good because he had to study, think, plan, and work hard before he found a solution to each problem.

Bernice, his wife, and he formed a perfect mastermind alliance. And they worked together in perfect harmony. They manufactured one cosmeticitem and acted as distributors for other companies. But they lacked working capital so they were forced to do the work themselves.

As their business grew, Bernice became an expert in office management and purchasing, and an excellent administrator. Leonard became a successful sales manager and efficient production manager. And when the business grew, they were wise enough to employ the services of a Lawyer 'with good common sense - the kind that gets things done. And they also benefited from the services of an expert in accounting and taxes.

The way to make a fortune is to manufacture or sell a product or service (preferably a necessity at a low cost) that repeats. They did

Every dollar that could be spared was plowed back into the business. Necessity motivated them to: study, think, and plan; make one dollar do the part of many; obtain maximum results from every working hour; eliminate waste.

Month by month their sales moved forward as Leonard aggressively sought to break each previous sales record. He became known in the industry as a man who knew his business. To many, he became known as a man who learned to go the extra mile.

Going the extra mile in two instances completely changed the course of his career for the better. In the one instance his banker introduced him to three of the bank's clients who had made an investment in another cosmetic company. They needed expert advice from someone with good common sense. And Leonard took the time to help them.

Leonard went the extra mile in doing a good turn for a buyer in a drug store in los Angeles. And then one day the buyer showed his
appreciation by confidentially informing Leonard that the firm manufacturing VO-5, a quality hair dressing, might be for sale.

Leonard got excited. For here was a 15-year-old company with a quality product that had leveled off. He knew, from his cosmetic experience and from the study 0/ cycles and trends, that all this company needed was new life, new blood, new activity.

He acted on the self starter Do It Now! In fact that very evening he was in conference with the owner. Now ordinarily in a transaction of this type, where the buyer and seller don't know each other, it takes weeks and sometimes months to negotiate-before there is a meeting of the minds.

A pleasing personality and good common Sense on the part of the buyer or seller often eliminate unnecessary delays. Because of Leonard's pleasing personality and his good common sense, the owner agreed to sell the company for $400,000 that same night
Now it is true that Leonard had been doing well but it was also true that every dollar he could spare was being plowed back into his business. Where could he get $400,000? In his hotel room that night he realized that he had all of the combinations to real wealth but one. Just one-money.

The next morning, as he awakened, he bad a flash of inspiration. Again he reacted to the self-starter Do 1 Now! For he made a long distance telephone call to one of the three men to whom he was introduced by his banker. He had helped them and perhaps they could give him the right advice. For they knew more about financing than he. Because they had invested in another cosmetic company, perhaps they would invest in his. They did.

And because these men were experienced in investing, they employed a successful investment formula which made it necessary for Leonard to agree to: (a) Consolidate all his operations; (b) devote his entire efforts to one corporation; (c) have the corporation pay back the loan on quarterly installments over a five-year period; (d) pay at the going rate of interest on the loan; and (e) give 25% of the corporation's stock as a premium for the investment gamble.

Leonard did agree. He saw the value of the use of OPM (Other People Money). The three men used OPM, too. They borrowed the $400,000 from their banks.

The missing number-now Leonard and Bernice had it! They worked long hours. They put their hearts into the business. They found it a thrilling game.

It wasn't long before VO-5 was being used in every part of the United States and in many foreign countries. December is usually the slowest month of the year for the cosmetic manufacturer. But in December, a year and a half after Leonard and Bernice took over the management of VO-5 and another product which was acquired-Rinse Away-the factory had a dollar volume of more than
$870,000. That was as much as VO-5 and Rinse Away together had received during their past years under previous management.

And Bernice and Leonard found the missing number. With it they found the combination to acquire wealth. For it was only three years after the acquisition of VO-5 that their equities in their company were valued in excess of a million dollars. Now the numbers in Leonard Lavin's combination for success were:

No.1: A product or service that repeats.

No.2: A company that is making money with an exclusive product or trade name, but which has leveled off.

No.3: A good experienced production manager who operates the factory with maximum efficiency,

No.4: A successful experienced sales manager who constantly increases sales (at a profit to the company) by adhering to a successful sales formula and simultaneously seeking better sales methods.

No.5: A good administrator with PMA.

No.6: An expert accountant who understands cost accounting and income tax law.

No.7: A good lawyer with common sense and PMA who gets things done.

No. 8: Sufficient working capital or credit to operate the business and expand it at the right time.

You, too, can use OPM for: "Business? It is quite simple. It is other people's money."

Now if you choose to learn the principles in this article you, like Leonard and Bernice Lavin, can find the missing numbers to unlock the door to riches for yourself. But to be healthy and happy, you must find satisfaction in your job.